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EmployABILITY Champion: Frisky Business Palm Springs Cat Café

Frisky Business Palm Springs Cat Café was founded in 2022 by Claire Rogers. Frisky Business is a welcoming cafe that has a visiting area where patrons can enjoy the company of adoptable cats from the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Claire sat down with us to celebrate her business's new status as an EmployABILITY Champion and to tell us what that means to her.

The inside of Frisky Business Cat Café

When you tell people about what your business does or provides, what do you say?

When I first told people about the cat café idea, so many didn’t get it. We’re the first cat café here in Palm Springs. We’re a regular coffee shop, and we’re a cat adoption site. But, if you don’t want to interact with cats, you don’t have to because they’re in a separate space. We’re a local business supporting local businesses. Our coffee is from a local roaster; the food we serve is from a local restaurant. The art hanging in the shop is from local artists. Yes, our business provides great specialty drinks, delicious food, and helps cats get adopted, but it’s really about creating community. We’re trying to bring back good, old-fashioned American kindness. We want our café to be a hub for the community, a place where people who may be lonely or going through a rough time can come and find a welcoming place where they feel less alone. Last Christmas, we opened for a few hours so that people who live by themselves would have somewhere to go to find friendly faces and companionship.

How do you plan to use EmployABILITY Business Grant funds to grow your business?

We are using some of the funds to create a training program for individuals with disabilities. We’ve already hired our first intern! The program will give the interns real-world, hands-on experience in the food and beverage industry and in animal care. They’ll learn how to make our specialty drinks, how to help customers, restaurant sanitation procedures, and looking after the cats. Our ultimate goal is for the training program to be a resource for other businesses to find skilled, hard-working employees. We also used funds to make changes to the space to make it more accessible for employees and customers, and we bought an ADA-compliant espresso machine. We want to be a certified autism-aware business and neurodivergent workplace.

Black cat with a paw on a binder that has both the Frisky Business and EmployABILITY Champion logos on it

What does the future look like for your business? I believe in dreaming big! When you put things out into the universe, it will happen. My big dream is to open more Frisky Business locations and continue to offer people with disabilities and other marginalized people meaningful employment opportunities.


What does it mean to you to be an EmployABILITY Champion? This grant allowed me to fulfill a dream and make a bigger difference in the community. The goal is to normalize hiring individuals with disabilities and show that they are great hard-workers. And we’re doing that.


For more information on Frisky Business, visit https://www.friskybusinesscatcafe.com/.

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Image by Nick Karvounis

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